|Peak:||Castle Peak (14er)|
|Route:||North Face Couloir|
|Date of Info:||06/02/2012|
My son John and I drove to the first switchback above upper bridge (~11,000ft) and camped overnight 1 June. Stream crossing in late afternoon was to just below the running boards of my stock 2006 4Runner. Not as bad coming out about noon 2 June. Road in its usual "3"-"4" state, with some downed branches and snow near 10,800 ft.
Hiking road up Montezuma‘s Basin is free of snow except for last 100 feet. There are some large boulders along the way (first at 12,000ft) that have fallen (been pushed?) onto the road which might stop vehicles capable of making it this far.
Climbing above the road, snow was consolidated up headwall and into the upper basin.
In couloir, snow getting thin and soft near the top.
After summiting Castle, ascended Conundrum and then descended via saddle. Down climbed initial section to ensure clean glissade below rocks starting to stick up. Beware of wet slabs if climbing late. Glissade was fast and fun. Agree with others that it is not a good introductory glissade.
By the time we reached the road a thunderstorm rolled over the saddle and chased us down the road with hail.
Brought snowshoes (based on on previous year attempt) but did not need them. Also brought avy gear (again based on avalanche evidence seen in year‘s past) but did not need it. Would suggest avy gear if you anticipate glissading late, due to potential of wet slab avalanche).
Had the entire mountain to ourselves which is unusual for a 14er in June (not complaining). Good climb if you can get on it in the next week or two.
Pictures: Near top of couloir, picture of couloir from Conundrum, and Castle/Conundrum with couloir on left and glissade track from saddle on right.
Photos (click for slideshow):